The Engineering Leadership Program explores leadership challenges in applied science using liberal arts pedagogy. The program aims to cultivate leaders of curiosity and character, whose technical expertise is enriched through the study of the political, moral, and philosophic dilemmas posed by the perpetual advancement of science and technology. Students in ENLP are encouraged to see engineering leadership as a humane discipline that requires lifelong reflection on questions that arise within the purview of science, but which science alone cannot answer.
The program offers a wide variety of courses on the thought and practice of leadership, many of which utilize primary source texts in history, the philosophy of science, moral philosophy, political science, and anthropology. The program’s courses count for humanities and social sciences credit in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and most courses are discussion-based seminars. Students with a deep interest in ENLP’s curriculum are encouraged to pursue the Engineering Leadership Certificate and develop long-term relationships with faculty. Such students may also wish to take courses in the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics, and Society, many of which count for credit toward the ENLP certificate.
In addition to introducing students to the intellectual complexities of scientific leadership, the program also addresses contemporary concerns in engineering practice. CU engineering alumni and established leaders from engineering industry, business, and politics frequently visit ENLP classes to give guest lectures, hold interview sessions, and converse with students over informal lunches. The Engineering Leadership Program has also partnered with the Engineering Management Program to offer coursework for ENLP students interested in engineering project management, engineering entrepreneurship, and engineering economics.
ENLP's Academic Mission
The Engineering Program maintains that leadership education is liberal education, or education in intellectual freedom. Liberal education provides effective preparation for engineering leadership because engineering education alone does not train engineers to reflect freely and deeply on the moral, political, and natural aspects of the engineering technologies they create.
The technologies engineers create are instruments meant to accomplish some human good. A piece of technology cannot determine its own good or purpose any more than a musical instrument can compose or play its own song. The human good, whether it is social, political, economic, medical, scientific, artistic, or otherwise, must be determined by human beings and not by the instruments they create. Engineering technologies are instrumental means of pursuing this good, but they are not ends or goods in themselves. They cannot determine their own purposes or worth.
Because liberal education poses the question of what the human good is, it supplements technical education by providing moral direction and purpose to the technical mind. Liberal education is valuable for future engineering leaders because it is education in, and exploration of, the manifold complexities and nuances of the human good. Reading widely, reasoning thoroughly, and thinking freely broaden the intellectual range of future engineering leaders, making them more competent to lead engineering enterprises whose missions are to produce technology that accords with the best interests of humanity.